How Dangerous Is The Shaken Baby Syndrome?

shaken baby syndromeShaken baby syndrome is the most severe form of head injury that occurs by aggressively shaking the baby. This syndrome can arise from as little as 5 seconds of shaking the baby.

Shaking takes place when your baby cries miserably and the aggravated care giver loses the control.

Shaking your baby sometimes results in severe head injury to the baby, permanent brain damage or even death.

Injuries are more likely to occur when there is both acceleration and deceleration.

Hitting with a soft object like mattress or pillow can lead to severe injuries to your newborn. Shaken baby syndrome is usually seen in infants less than 2 years of age.

What happens when your baby is shaken?

  • When an infant is shaken, brain bounces back and forth against his/her skull. This can lead to bruising of the brain, swelling, pressure, and finally leading to bleeding in the brain.
  • Larger veins along the outer side of your baby’s brain can tear, which leads to further swelling, bleeding and increased pressure. Finally this can even lead to permanent brain damage or death.
  • Shaking your infant can also lead to other injuries like, damage to the eyes, spine and neck. Eye injury is the most common condition due to shaking and it can lead to permanent vision loss.
  • Extreme irritability
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Unable to breathe
  • Poor feeding and lack of appetite
  • Sleepiness, lethargy and not smiling
  • Bluish or pale skin
  • Decreased alertness
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Developmental delays
  • Severe mental retardation
  • Paralysis or some of the traumatic episodes leaves the child in coma
  • Impaired intellect
  • Hearing loss
  • Problems related to your memory and attention
  • Partial or complete blindness

How to diagnose shaken baby syndrome?

If the doctor suspects this syndrome, then he/she may look for:

  • Skull fractures
  • Bruises around the neck, head or chest
  • Swelling in the brain
  • Hemorrhages in the retinas of your child’s eye
  • Rib and long bone fractures
  • Subdural hematomas

How to prevent shaken baby syndrome?

The key factor in preventing shaken baby syndrome is to raise the knowledge of potential injuries due to shaking. Most of the hospital based programs can help new parents to recognize and avoid the injuries due to shaking and understand how to respond whenever an infant cries.

Find the way to alleviate your stress at the critical time when the baby cries so that you can significantly reduce the risk to your child.


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